3 reasons to use Azure Sentinel to improve your cloud security posture

Azure Sentinel is a Security Information Event Management (SIEM) solution designed to modernise threat detection and response for enterprise and give users a more comprehensive view of their security across the whole business. 

Sentinel is built into the Azure Portal and is meant to compliment your use of other Azure security services, like Azure Security Centre, Azure Machine Learning and Log Analytics, to better automate and improve your threat response capabilities across cloud and on-premises.

What makes Azure Sentinel ideal as a security solution for organisations in the Microsoft Cloud ecosystem is its focus on enhancing security posture in a much faster, more user-friendly way. 

We commonly speak with our customers who often note that SIEM solutions take a long time to deploy due to their inherent complexity and the maintenance of these tools is overly time-consuming, leaving their teams little time to appropriately dig into the analytics and broader capabilities they offer. What Azure Sentinel does to mitigate this:

  • Businesses can reduce incident response times with automated response.
  • IT can deploy in minutes rather than months with the streamlined deployment system.
  • Management can gain complete visibility over security posture in seconds through Azure Portal.
  • Organisations as a whole can leverage a low total cost of ownership thanks to the service being fully managed by Microsoft, with no traditional maintenance required.

While the tool is still relatively new, having originally launched in March 2019, its features are still continuously evolving and being updated by Microsoft - and it’s in a state now that demands fair attention from organisations looking to improve their security posture with Azure Cloud.

In this article, we break down the top 3 reasons to use Azure Sentinel - for your convenience. 

 

Reason #1 - Azure Sentinel is smarter, faster and cheaper

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Unlike traditional SIEM tools, Azure Sentinel leverages the cloud-based intelligence and natively integrated features of the broader Azure platform and Azure Data Services to make enterprise security response smarter, faster and easier for both IT management and business leaders.

  • Faster: Sentinel’s centralised control plane neatly brings analytics and management together in one place. You can access a one-page dashboard overview of events, alerts and cases by status, visually represented in graphic form, and any potential malicious events and data source anomalies. Threat management capabilities - cases, hunting, notebooks - are all easily accessed in the left-hand side bar, while configuration - FAQs, data connections, analytics and workspace settings - are equally accessible here for both a quick glance and in-depth dive.
  • Cheaper: Like most public cloud-based services and tools on the Microsoft Azure platform, Azure Sentinel can help lower business expenses related to security posture almost immediately after adoption because of its scalable, fully managed nature. The service can be automatically scaled to meet your organisational security needs at any given time, meaning you only have tool pay for the resources that you need, and can lower usage when not needed. Because it’s also maintained and services by Microsoft directly, your IT team don’t have to spend time or money managing it, leaving them able to pursue other innovative opportunities.
  • Smarter: Sentinel is also bolstered by cloud AI and machine learning systems to automate monitoring and response, with the ML capability specifically called Fusion. Fusion is intended to reduce alert fatigue and increase threat response productivity and is automatically turned on by default. It uses graph-powered ML algorithms to correlate activities across different security services your business may be using, like Azure AD Identity Protection (for identity and access management), Azure Security Center and Microsoft Cloud App Security, combining them into an easily manageable security incident overview. For security analysts and engineers, this capability is useful to avoid having to correlate alerts from different products manually.

Sentinel emphasises investing your cloud security budget into more efficiently protection solutions rather than infrastructure setup and maintenance, like with other non cloud-native SIEM tools. This is also the first cloud-based SIEM on the market, and one not to overlook.

 

Reason #2 - Azure Sentinel has seamless security integrations

 

Like any good cloud-based solution, Azure Sentinel has a ton of both native and third-party vendor integrations that strengthen your organisation’s security capabilities across both tools. This is achieved through connectors with connect to your data sources, and is fast and easy.

Some of Azure Sentinel’s best native integrations within the broader Azure platform include:

  • Office 365: Azure Sentinel has native integration with the core Software as a Service (SaaS) productivity suites of Microsoft, including Office 365. You can strengthen security for your staff using these essential software products by importing your data from O365 into Sentinel for analysis with only a few clicks, and both storage and analysis of Office 365 data is free for all.

  • Azure Monitor Log Analytics: Sentinel is also highly compatible with Log Analytics, used to store and analyse big data in only a few seconds with minimal code. Your users can collect, query and analyse a lot faster to identify potential anomalies as either threats or non-threats.

  • Microsoft Cloud App Security: Better enable centralised monitoring of alerts and discovery data. Connecting with Azure Sentinel lets you to better protect cloud applications and maintain standard security workflows while automating security processes across cloud-based and on-premise events.

Some of Azure Sentinel’s best third-party integrations include:

  • Palo Alto: Azure Sentinel integration with Palo Alto Networks via the in-built data connector lets businesses easily connect Palo Alto Networks logs into one place for better visibility. Users have an overview of these logs via Sentinel’s dashboards, and you can create custom alerts and strengthen your team’s threat response investigation instantly. You’ll also gain deeper insights into Internet usage and security operation capabilities.

  • ServiceNow: ServiceNow Security Operations can connection with Azure Sentinel via Microsoft Graph Security API integration, which lets organisations consolidate and analyse deeper insights from Senintel and other Microsoft services (Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, Azure Advanced Threat Protection, etc) to allow customers visibility and response capabilities of all incidents directly in ServiceNow, which acts as the central management layer. Essentially, all security alerts are ingested into ServiceNow and automatically create security incidents to review, with a number of automation features to enable more consistent response.

  • SumoLogic: Connecting Sentinel and SumoLogic together enables better support for securing on-premise and Azure apps and is especially useful for organisations fostering a more seamless hybrid cloud experience using the Azure platform’s capabilities and SumoLogic’s solution as the management layer. You can identify critical Azure app problems faster, correlate on-premise and cloud event data easier, and leverage microservices like Kubernetes, Docker and more with SL.

In short, Azure Sentinel has some great integrations that can very quickly strengthen your security posture across both tools, with minimal setup and complexity involved.

Reason #3 - Azure Sentinel meets the needs for both IT and decision-makers

 

Azure Sentinel is a security solution that caters to technical teams (IT) and decision-makers.

  • IT: which can include your internal or external security team in charge of threat response (security analysts, engineers, researchers, etc), Azure Sentinel offers a versatile range of easy-to-use tools that can enhance security operations significantly. IT can get alerts faster, remediate problems quicker using ML and AI-enhanced automation, and use query language for more proactive identification of threats and anomalies.

  • Decision-makers and non-technical management: The value in Azure Sentinel is easily illustrated and proven through its powerful analytics capabilities and cost-savings as a fully managed service. Your leaders can more access relevant data across the business using Sentinel’s visualised and interactive dashboards, which saves time having to source reports from different departments and enables more direct opportunities for insights.

Overall, Sentinel saves both groups in the business a ton of time - which is invaluable in today’s cloud-based world where digital transformation is always occurring, demanding our digital security needs to be stronger than ever.

 

Is Azure Sentinel is right for my business?

As we’ve noted above, Azure Sentinel is a continuously evolving and updated solution.

Compared to other Azure-based security tools, Sentinel’s capabilities are still being added to, but the core of the toolset is undeniably strong right now for enhancing threat detection capabilities and ensuring that all parties have a better visualised overview over security data.

While the high-level business benefits are clear to see, it’s recommended to source the assistance of a certified Microsoft Azure partner or external expertise if your business requires a more in-depth assessment and strategic roadmap of how Sentinel can align with your overall security goals - learn how Xello can help you assess and adopt Azure Sentinel today.